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Cavolo Nero, Butterbean & Orange Soup with Almonds

Credit: Abel & Cole

I previously spoke about the amazing health benefits of beans in my feijoada recipe; feel free to check it out! The health benefits, the recipe, or both 🙂
Since then I’ve incorporated black beans and kidney beans in my recipes. I think it’s time for butter beans. I’m aware though that people have mixed feelings about butter beans. Feel free to adapt to your liking with any other type of bean. Nutritional powerhouse beans – tick. Let us look at the next key ingredient: Kale!

Kale is amongst the most nutrient-dense foods per calorie on the planet! Hence, I always keep some type of kale in my fridge. It is loaded with Vitamin K, A and C, bursting with antioxidants, and a great source of sulforaphane.
I decided to give the original recipe a little twist, and prepare the soup with ‘Cavolo Nero’, black cabbage.

Finding a recipe that contains both beans and kale, seem like a winner! My soup is simmering on the stove, spreading a wonderful aroma. I don’t want to keep you from experiencing the same joy!

Ingredients

  • A few splashes of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, finely diced (peel if you want, else, scrub it well)
  • 1 carrot, finely diced (peel if you want, else, scrub it well)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ red chilli, finely chopped (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • The juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tins of butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 large handfuls of cavolo nero, finely chopped (I prefer to to chop it with the stem, but you can remove it if you like)
  • A large handful of almonds, chopped
  • A pinch of chilli powder
  • A drizzle of agave nectar

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Once hot, add the diced onion, potato and carrot. Cook over a low heat until the onions are glossy and tender.
  3. Stir in the garlic, chilli, rosemary, cinnamon and orange juice and zest. Cook until the orange juice reduces to a sticky glaze.
  4. Add half the stock and the beans. Let it gently bubble until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
  5. Add the Cavolo Nero and mix. Cook for a moment, until it is a lush bright green.
  6. Whizz the soup with a blender or in a food processor until smooth, or serve chunky, adding stock as needed to reach the desired consistency.
  7. Season to taste. Add more orange or chilli if needed.
  8. Fry the chopped nuts in a little olive oil over a medium heat until just golden. Add a pinch of salt, a hint of chilli powder and a trickle of agave nectar, just enough to coat.
  9. Once the agave nectar has formed a sticky glaze, remove from the pan. Scatter nuts over each bowl of soup.

Enjoy this wintery soup and get warm and cosy!

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Broccoli creme soup

I love soups as it gets colder outside! This one is an all-time fave of mine, and it seems great for the next chilly days that are forecasted. Not only will it warm you from the inside out, but it’s super healthy too.

Broccoli is another healthy member of the cruciferous vegetable family, like cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choi and many more. If you’ve seen my past recipes you may have noticed that I cook with these veggies on a very regular basis. Why? All cruciferous veggies have a wonderful component, which makes them so incredibly beneficial for our health. I have shared some of these benefits in my stir-fry ginger cabbage recipe.

Now, did you know that you can make broccoli even healthier by chopping it into small pieces before cooking it? Apparently the finer you chop it, the better! Chopping the broccoli activates the enzyme myrosinase, which in turn causes sulforaphane to become available for absorption. To allow the sulfurophane to ‘develop’ it’s important to let is ‘rest’ for at least to 30 minutes before cooking it. ‘Resting’ times between 30 – 90 minutes are most beneficial to maximise sulforaphane absorption according to some research.
It was last year that I came across this interesting fact and now it became second nature for me when preparing any dish with broccoli:

  1. chop finely
  2. wait for at least 30 minutes 

With this information ‘out of the way’ let’s get to our creamy soup!

Ingredients

  • 500gr broccoli
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp vegan butter/margarine
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white wine
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 100ml vegan cream (soya/oat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp almond flakes or chopped almonds
  • some pepper and nutmeg to taste

Preparation

  1. Wash broccoli and chop finely
  2. Set aside for at least 30 mins
  3. Go and enjoy something else in the meantime like reading, chatting to a friend, or taking a power nap 😉
  4. Come back and chop the onion finely. Heat some oil in a deep pan and add the chopped onion, and glaze at medium heat for 1-3 minutes. 
  5. Then add the vegan butter/margarine and the finely chopped broccoli and dust the flour over the mix. Gently stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the white wine, the vegetable stock, and the cream and cook everything for 5-10 minutes, until the broccoli is cooked.
  7. Once cooked, turn off the heat and carefully blend all ingredients with a hand blender. Then season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  8. Serve in bowl sprinkling the almond flakes / chopped almonds over the soup.

Enjoy and stay warm!